It was a long process and the gf was getting a little tired of our 500 sq ft apartment being turned into a bike shop, but it's finally done! As the title says, my goal was to build the lightest racing bike I could for the least money I could. My budget limit was $2500 and the goal weight was less than 14 lb. Below is a chart of the components, weights, prices, some notes on alternative component options, and finally some build notes for anyone trying to do something similar or mix different brands of components. Enjoy.
Component | Weight (g) | Price (USD)
Dengfu carbon frame (FM098)| 1100| $458
Dengfu carbon fork| 380| $0
Dengfu carbon seat post| 128| $0
Dengfu seat post clamp| 30| $0
Dengfu carbon saddle| 102| $55
Saddle hardware (Ti bolts and yokes)| 38| $21
Neco headset| 78| $14
Purely Custom Top cap & bolt| 5| $10
Tune Gum Gum Expander| 9| $20
Uno 100mm Alu. stem (w/o bolts)| 87| $29
Ti stem bolts| 8| $15
Easton EC90 SLX3 handlebars| 199| $87
Farsports 38mm carbon clincher wheelset| 1258| $578
Farsports brake pads| 29| $0
Veloplugs| 6| $10
Michelin Pro4 Service Course tires (x2)| 400| $75
Challenge Latex tubes (x2)| 136| $30
Bottle Cage Bolts (Alu x4)| 6| $4
Deda Traforato tape| 40| $10
Speedplay Zero titianium pedals (x2)| 160| $100
Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset| below| $403 (after selling brakeset, crankset, bb)
Shimano Ultegra 6800 rear derailleur| 194| $0
Shimano Ultegra 6800 front derailleur| 89| $0
Shimano Ultegra 6800 STI Levers| 416| $0
Shimano Ultegra 6800 chain| 236| $0
Shimano Ultegra 6800 cassette| 220| $0
Shimano Ultegra 6800 cable & housing| 135| $0
SRAM Red22 Exo GXP 172.5mm cranks| 409| $325
SRAM Red22 Exo 50/34t chainrings| 153| $0
VCRC GXP ceramic bottom bracket| 88| $88
Planet-X Ultra Light brakes| 210| $130
Total| 6349| $2462
- Anywhere a "0" is present indicates that the value is included in the value above.
- Farsports carbon clincher wheelset weight and cost includes: ED ceramic hubs (claimed: 65g front, 192g rear), Sapim CX-ray bladed spokes, 38mm carbon rim, and 11speed cassette body.
- I bought the Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset for $810 and sold the brakeset, crankset, and bottom bracket separately to help buy the SRAM Red22 crankset, VCRC BB, and Planet-X brakeset. I subtracted the amount I sold the parts for from the total groupset cost.
- It would have been possible to stay much closer to $2000 if I had opted to go for BikeHubStore Hubs, Kinlin rims (21mm aluminum), CxRay spokes, and build the wheels myself. That would have weighed 1229g and cost only $249 (saving 29g and $329), however I wanted the nicer (and slightly more aero) 38mm carbon rims. If I had built the above mentioned wheels, the total weight and cost would have been 6320g and $2133.
- If I were trying to save more weight for no additional money, I might reconsider the frame choice, because the FM098 (Specialized S-works Venge inspired) is pretty heavy at 1100g. Hongfu Bikes offers a FM066SL (a "super-light" version of the Cannondale Evo Hi-Mod) which weighs from 780g-920g depending on size.
- I would highly recommend Farsports for wheels. I haven't ridden on the wheels enough to attest to long-term durability, but they were perfectly smooth and true right out of the box. They were hand-built and the finish is immaculate. They are very lightweight and while there are other chinese carbon rims available for less money (i.e. on eBay) these are of utmost quality. Four different master mechanics at two of my local shops were blown away by the quality of these wheels and were surprised that they were nothing like other unbranded-chinese wheels they have seen.
- Dengfu bikes was average to work with. There were certainly language barriers, but by choosing your language carefully (and perhaps including a chinese google translation) you will get your point across. Keep time zone in mind during your communications and if you have a delayed response. The items I received were in good condition, but they forgot to send me saddle hardware (even though I ordered both a seat and seat post from them). They also sent me the wrong handlebars, and were initially unwilling to refund them or pay for the return shipping. Their TOS state that the customer is responsible for returns if you don't like the item, but the TOS doesn't mention if they send the wrong item. After a few days of back-and-forth they refunded my money (but not before they tried to get me to pay again for the correct handlebars, ship the old incorrect bars to another customer, and contact my customs office to see if they would refund me (what?!)). If they get your order correct you will be happy.
- The hidden gem of this build is the Uno stem. They are insanely inexpensive and very light. Check them out. I decided not to acetone the decal off the stem because it just so happened to have the number 9 (or upside-down 6?) on it, and this is the 9th bike I've ever owned.
- For the Speedplay pedals, I bought a pair of the Zero chromoly pedals and replaced the spindles with titanium ones from another manufacturer. The total cost in the chart is what I paid for the chromoly zero pedals and the titanium replacement spindles. Depending on the quality of the zero pedals, you may also want to replace the internal bearings as well. Kits can be found online. Please note that the spindles cannot be switched to titanium from the light-action chromoly or X-5 pedals.
- I decided to switch out the Shimano Ultegra 6800 crankset and bottom bracket for the SRAM Red 22 Exogram (GXP) crankset and a VCRC GXP ceramic bottom bracket. The BB and crankset were perfectly compatible (as they are made to be) and the SRAM crankset is 99% compatible with the Shimano Ultegra 6800 front derailleur. I couldn't find much info on mixing the new SRAM Red 22 chainrings with the Ultegra 6800 front derailleur, but I decided to give it a go. There are two things to note when using this configuration: one is that you need a lot of cable tension on the FD cable to get the derailleur to shift properly to the larger chainring (note that the FD9000 and FD6800 have a converter feature that allows you change the fulcrum angle slightly, so cable tension shouldn't be much of an issue on most frames. YMMV), the second note is that there is noticeable rubbing on the FD when you are completely cross-chained. This should not really be a surprise because you shouldn't be cross-chained anyway, but I thought I'd mention it. Once you have it properly adjusted (which can take an extra bit of time due to the 11 speeds) it shifts flawlessly.
Im happy to answer any questions you guys/gals might have. Ride safe.